Didgeridoo and health
Playing the didgeridoo promotes deep breathing, and also puts you into a more relaxed state of mind. People who have heard the eerie and mellow sounds of a didgeridoo describe it as calming and meditative.
If you play the didgeridoo for a significant period you are likely to go into a trance like state. Most people report becoming very relaxed and yet very aware, feeling at rest and yet being energised. In this way stress levels can be reduced and a more peaceful state of mind can be achieved elevating ones mood.
Music also has a powerful impact on the senses. The sound of the didgeridoo resonating and the vibration that travels through your body as you are playing creates a sense of well being and accomplishment. It is a great way to wind down after a tough stressful day.
The didgeridoo can be quite therapeutic for anybody in the same space when a didgeridoo is being played. Listening to somebody else play the didgeridoo seems to awaken deep and mystical feelings creating emotions within us which are soothing and healing.
Playing the didgeridoo can be very beneficial to your physical health. While playing didgeridoo should never require over exertion, the effort required to circular breathe while sustaining pulsating rhythms is enough to get the blood flowing. Therefore, sustained didgeridoo playing can be a great low impact cardiovascular workout.
Lung capacity and efficiency can be improved, while great benefits can be gained from the revitalising effects that circular breathing has. The energy boost and revitalisation resulting from ten or twenty minutes of playing can be experienced by anyone and is especially noticeable when the player has been feeling lethargic or tired.
Extra breathing and lung activity increases the oxygen supplied to the body, similar in effect to exercise. The sharp breaths through the nostrils act to clear out the nasal cavities. During the creation of rhythms your diaphragm muscles are actively used and exercised, and this has a similar effect on the internal organs, as do specific yoga exercises-( possibly aiding in the assimilation of food, and the elimination of waste) Also, this active use of the diaphragm muscle aids in toning up the stomach externally.
Playing the didgeridoo strengthens muscles in the upper airway of the respiratory system thus reducing their tendency to collapse during sleeping, helping fight sleep apnea (a common disorder involving potentially dangerous pauses in breathing while sleeping) as well as the tendency to snore.
A 2005 Study at the University Hospital of Zurich ,which was prompted after a didgeridoo teacher reported that’s some of his students experienced less snoring and more daytime energy and later published in the British Medical Journal in 2006 found that training sleep disorder patients to play the didgeridoo
“reduced daytime sleepiness and snoring in people with moderate obstructive sleep apnea and also improves the sleep quality of their partners.” In addition,
“severity of disease, expressed by the apnoea-hypopnoea index, is also substantially reduced after four months of didgeridoo playing.”
They concluded that regular didgeridoo playing is an effective alternative treatment well accepted by patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.
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Research undertaken in Queensland, Australia and recently published in the Journal of Rural Health, shows the potential value playing a didgeridoo may have for a person with asthma in helping control their symptoms and improving their quality of life.
While this study focused on didgeridoo playing for boys, the benefits of playing wind instruments has have been advocated for many years as a means of helping to control asthma symptoms.
Thirty-three Aboriginal participants between the ages of five and 77 were chosen from Queensland, Australia. The female participants were enrolled in musical training classes for six months: while the male participants practiced the didgeridoo. The didgeridoo was the chosen instrument because of the respiratory skills needed to play it successfully, and because of its historical importance for many Aboriginal groups.
At three-month intervals, the participants respiratory functioning was tested for signs of improvement. The tests examined how fast a person can breathe, the amount of air that can be forced out, and the difference in lung volume during a full inhale and a full exhale. The participants were also asked to record any perceived improvements in their asthma symptoms.
The male participants’ breathing abilities showed improvements between the three-month intervals. On the other hand, the female participants exhibited less significant changes. Some participants also recorded perceived improvements in their overall health.
The small study produced promising results but acknowledge further more controlled studies were needed to fully test the theory. However, a similar study presented in the Journal of Asthma that incorporated a control group supports these results. In this study the students that played wind instruments had a significant decrease in asthma symptoms and anxiety compared to the students who played non-wind instruments.
If you would like a full copy of the study just send us an e-mail and we will gladly send it you as pdf file.
Healing via didgeridoo has taken hold in some western medicine circles and among holistic practitioners by using the didgeridoo as a form of sound therapy citing the vibration effects and using the sound waves to treat chronic pain conditions.
The didgeridoo produces a low frequency sound that we can hear, as well as vibrations that we can feel. These low frequencies are claimed by some to have a healing effect on living tissue and promote movement and unblocking of energy in the body.
The benefits of vibrational healing have long been highly regarded in indigenous cultures. Aboriginal elders play the didgeridoo near sick people to help them regain health. Contemporary science is currently documenting the beneficial effects of vibration on bone, muscle, and hormonal function.
Therefore, didgeridoo sound healing could be considered as an alternate treatment for stress, disease, anxiety, depression, injury, and emotional pain and other medical conditions.